Edmunds forecasts highest monthly SAAR since April

(September 29, 2011) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — An estimated 1,038,052 new cars will be sold in September for a projected Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million light vehicles, forecasts Edmunds.com. The sales pace marks the highest monthly SAAR since the 13.2 million light vehicles reported in April. That was the last full month before supply disruptions stemming from the Japanese earthquake had a true impact on sales.

September's sales forecast is an encouraging sign for the automotive industry, but the momentum likely won't be enough to get sales back on track for the growth that was first projected at the beginning of the year. Earlier this month, Edmunds.com lowered its 2011 auto sales forecast from 12.9 million to 12.6 million vehicles.

"Some consumers who deferred purchases earlier this summer are responding to improving vehicle supply and more competitive prices, and those purchases will be reflected in September's sales results," said Edmunds.com Chief Economist Lacey Plache. "But declining economic conditions are keeping other consumers away from dealer lots and will continue to do so at least through the end of the year."


Manufacturer Sep-11 Forecast Sep-10 Aug-11 Change from Sep 2010 Change from Aug 2011
GM 206,393 173,043 218,479 19.3% -5.5%
Ford 178,654 160,375 174,804 11.4% 2.2%
Toyota 124,776 147,162 129,482 -15.2% -3.6%
Chrysler 122,843 100,077 130,119 22.7% -5.6%
Honda 91,027 97,361 82,321 -6.5% 10.6%
Nissan 89,996 74,205 91,541 21.3% -1.7%
Industry 1,038,052 958,493 1,071,783 8.3% -3.1%

*NOTE: Both September 2011 and September 2010 had 25 sales days

Edmunds.com forecasts that Honda will see the biggest month-over-month gains among the top six automakers. Honda projects to sell 10.6 percent more vehicles in September than August, but 6.5 percent fewer vehicles than in September 2010. The boost in sales is expected to bring Honda a 1.1 percentage point increase in market share.

"Honda's momentum this month is a direct reflection of all the hard work it has put into getting its production and supply issues back to normal," said Jessica Caldwell, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. 'With more cars available to sell, Honda is finally in a position to be a lot more flexible with incentives and pricing than it has been over the last several months, and consumers are responding."

Ford bounced back in September after it was the only major manufacturer in August that showed a decrease in month-over-month sales. Edmunds.com forecasts that Ford will sell 178,654 vehicles this month, a 2.2 percent increase over August. The bump in sales is expected to account for a 0.9 point gain in market share.


Manufacturer Sep-11 Forecast Sep-10 Aug-11 Change from Sep-10 Change from Aug-11
GM 19.9% 18.1% 20.4% 1.8% -0.5%
Ford 17.2% 16.7% 16.3% 0.5% 0.9%
Toyota 12.0% 15.4% 12.1% -3.3% -0.1%
Chrysler 11.8% 10.4% 12.1% 1.4% -0.3%
Honda 8.8% 10.2% 7.7% -1.4% 1.1%
Nissan 8.7% 7.7% 8.5% 0.9% 0.1%

Ford's Detroit rivals, GM and Chrysler, will likely have the most disappointing month of any of the Big 6 manufacturers. Despite a strong showing on the retail side, lower fleet sales this month will have dropped GM's overall sales 5.5 percent compared with August, leading to a 0.5 point drop in market share. Chrysler, meanwhile, will see sales drop 5.6 percent, for a 0.3 point decline in market share, according to Edmunds.com.